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John Gallagher: A Lack of Vision in Montgomery County

By: John Gallagher A common trope in discussions of regional power plays within Maryland is that leaders in other jurisdictions are blind to the needs of Montgomery County. One might argue that the same is true of Montgomery’s own County Council. There are numerous weighty, complex issues facing the large D.C. suburb. The county is ground zero for the suburbanization of poverty. In a state widely bemoaned for its awful business climate, Montgomery stands out as truly abysmal. No one seems to believe that the county has an economic development strategy. The public school system has only one vocational high school and the demand for slots there far exceeds supply. Montgomery has some of the highest levels of MS-13 gang activity on the East Coast. If you looked at the most high profile recent fights in Rockville, you wouldn’t see any mention of these sorts of weighty issues. You would see... Continue reading
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Join Wendy Davis in Annapolis on Monday, March 9

In honor of International Women’s Month, Progressive Choice is hosting an event in Annapolis with former Texas gubernatorial candidate and national leader on women’s issues, Wendy Davis. Wendy will discuss important issues facing women in Maryland and across the country. Tickets are free but going quickly! RSVP here.... Continue reading
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Tom Coale: Maryland: The “Customer Service” State

By: Tom Coale When Peter Franchot came into his job as Comptroller in 2007, his first focus was customer service.  And not just service with a smile, but promising Marylanders “the most effective and efficient customer service possible”. In 2011, he even hired a “Taxpayer Ombudsman” to evaluate the experience of the average taxpayer in interacting with his office and provide a direct line of communication for taxpayer concerns.  And it’s shown results.  Marylanders enjoy some of the fastest filing-to-refund times in the country, are able to check the status of their refund online, and can call a user-friendly hotline for technical questions about their return. Comptroller Franchot renewed his call to bring “old-fashioned customer service to every aspect of government” during his swearing-in ceremony this past January.  This call was enthusiastically endorsed by Governor Larry Hogan, who has promised Maryland businesses “a customer service-oriented state bureaucracy” that will work cooperatively... Continue reading
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Alison Prost: Don’t Backtrack on the Bay

By: Alison Prost Is there a way for Gov. Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly to find common ground on two controversial environmental issues this year – reducing pollution from excess manure in rural areas, and reducing polluted runoff in urban and suburban parts of the state? We certainly hope so. Maryland is counting on these two major clean-up measures to continue our progress toward restoring the Chesapeake and our local creeks and rivers. And while we encourage across-the-aisle problem solving, we at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will fight forcefully to ensure whatever bills emerge during this legislative session, or whatever regulations are put forth by the Hogan Administration, are strong enough to do the job. Watered-down measures won’t get us clean water. Recent assessments of the Bay’s health have found significantly less pollution entering the Maryland part of the Bay, thanks in large part to upgrades at the state’s major... Continue reading
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Carmela Coyle: Time to Mend Maryland’s Behavioral Health Safety Net

By: Carmela Coyle There is a crisis in Maryland. And it has nothing to do with the budget deficit, the health of the Chesapeake Bay or the national ranking of our schools. No, this crisis, which gets talked about far, far less than other issues, hits much, much closer to home. It’s a breakdown of the mind and of the body — where our loved ones battle diseases we often have trouble understanding. When we label these problems for public discourse, they’re known as mental illness and substance abuse or, together, behavioral health. Recent headlines capture the most troubling results — “Three die in Columbia Mall shooting,” “Student dies in apparent suicide at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School,” “With recent spike, heroin deaths top homicides in Maryland…” But they do not tell the whole story. For most Marylanders, this a crisis that is more often communicated through knowing nods,... Continue reading
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